Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Jun 22, 2015; 5(2): 243-254
Published online Jun 22, 2015. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v5.i2.243
Systematic review of suicide in economic recession
Mayowa Oyesanya, Javier Lopez-Morinigo, Rina Dutta
Mayowa Oyesanya, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London School of Medicine, King’s College London, London SE5 9RJ, United Kingdom
Javier Lopez-Morinigo, Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London SE5 9RJ, United Kingdom
Rina Dutta, Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London SE5 9RJ, United Kingdom
Author contributions: All authors have contributed to this paper and approved the final manuscript; the statistical methods of this study were reviewed by all authors from King’s College London.
Conflict-of-interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Data sharing: No additional data are available other than the articles cited in this review.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Correspondence to: Mayowa Oyesanya, BSc (Hons), Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London School of Medicine, King’s College London, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RJ, United Kingdom. mayowa.oyesanya@kcl.ac.uk
Telephone: +44-207-8480120 Fax: +44-207-8485408
Received: September 30, 2014
Peer-review started: October 9, 2014
First decision: November 14, 2014
Revised: March 17, 2015
Accepted: April 1, 2015
Article in press: April 7, 2015
Published online: June 22, 2015
Abstract

AIM: To provide a systematic update of the evidence concerning the relationship between economic recession and suicide.

METHODS: A keyword search of Ovid Medline, Embase, Embase Classic, PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES was performed to identify studies that had investigated the association between economic recession and suicide.

RESULTS: Thirty-eight studies met predetermined selection criteria and 31 of them found a positive association between economic recession and increased suicide rates. Two studies reported a negative association, two articles failed to find such an association, and three studies were inconclusive.

CONCLUSION: Economic recession periods appear to increase overall suicide rates, although further research is warranted in this area, particularly in low income countries.

Keywords: Economic recession, Suicide, Unemployment, Time series, Systematic review

Core tip: This review provides evidence for an association between economic recession and suicide at the ecological level. There is also evidence that the most recent recession is associated with an increase in suicide rates in high income countries such as Europe and North America. Methodological issues somewhat limit the comparability of some of the studies. High income countries were overrepresented in included studies, meaning that future studies in this area should focus their analyses on low and middle income countries wherever possible. More individual level analyses are also required in order to identify causal associations between economic recession and suicide.